01 September 2008

The August Babies! (Baby Chicks...)

New Chicks! This is from my accumulated material from early August that I haven't had time to post. They arrived on the 8th of August as day old chicks. The good news is that three weeks later, they are all still with us. Only bigger, and now in the gangly teenager stage, so let's stick with the cute pics for now!

The black ones are Black Australorps. I think a glossy black chicken walking around on green grass is lovely to look at (I feel the same about black cows on a green hillside...but we don't have that much room!) The yellow ones will grow up to be deep red-brown. They are Buckeyes, a rare heritage breed - and the only American chicken developed by a woman back in the late 1800s, in Ohio as you may have guessed. (And these are my new farm project -- more about that later...)

Press the play button to see just how cute these little gals are just walking around in their warm box.

July walk around Larrapin (Video)

Back in late July I did a walk-around video of the garden for two friends who were supposed to visit that week, but couldn't, due to illness. The video turned out to be kind of fun, a way to keep track of how things look, where various things were planted this season, etc. I think I'd like to do a walk-around video every month to see how it all changes... So here's what it looks like in mid/late July 2008:

31 August 2008

A little something hopeful...

I finally finished work for the weekend and wanted to post some pics I've saved for the blog, but it's hard to be lighthearted when so many Gulf Coast folks are away from their homes (again) and don't know if tomorrow will bring devastation or blessed false alarm. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who had to evacuate.

One September years ago in Yancey County, NC we had sudden and unexpected flooding the night of my birthday. We'd been having dinner with friends in Asheville and were driving the hour back home late at night in the driving rain. About two miles from our mountainside cabin above the South Toe River there were volunteer firemen and flashing lights blocking the country road. Past that point the river had flooded the highway and no one could pass. It was awful: midnight in the pouring rain, unable to get to our home and waiting dogs. I called a nurse friend who I knew worked 2nd shift and would still be up. Sure we could come stay with them. (Ahhh, there's where real hospitality and friendship are pure grace...) So we spent a restless and distraught night wondering how high the river would be, would the house be ok, were the dogs ok, etc.

It was mid-day the next day when the river went down enough to drive home. I was so stir crazy with worry that I would have hiked the overland mountain route if if meant getting home. And that was just one night, all the while knowing that our house was pretty far up the hill from the river and very unlikely to flood. So I can only imagine what the Gulf Coast/New Orleans folks are going through, again.

Our home stayed safe and dry that time. So many others haven't been that lucky. When the horror of Hurricane Katrina was going on, I heard a song on NPR that affected me so deeply I tracked down the CD. Singer Eliza Gilkyson wrote "Requiem" after the Asian tsunami. It is one of the most moving songs I've ever heard -- a lament, a prayer. (You can hear the song and/or the interview here.) NPR played the song and the interview after Katrina. I remember tears just flowing down my face when I heard it. I got out the CD played it last night again, thinking of New Orleans -- a place that stuck in my heart after just one visit there. I can see how people love it so much they will keep going back...

So here's another prayer, a story of baby birds in the shed that houses our well pump:

Earlier this summer I knew something was going on in the shed when I saw a wren coming and going through the wide gap under the shed door. She'd flit back and forth, various insects in her beak, then back again. A little investigation revealed loud peeping coming from within the old grass-catcher bag of an old mower.

A couple of weeks later, I opened the shed to find baby birds about to take on their biggest adventure -- flight! And in this case, life outside the well-pump shed! One little guy was up on the edge of the bag:

little shed friends

Others had already tumbled out of the nest and were huddled behind the axe....

little shed friends

Yet another had flown up to the window. This one seemed to be saying, "Hey, how does one get out of here!?" This is the pic from outside the shed:

nearly there

I opened the shed door because mama and papa wren were outside cheeping wildly. One by one they fluttered out into the big world. Till one, the littlest was left:

little shed friends

I watched and waited, worried sick he'd be left behind. Then he fluttered bravely out like a big bird and kind of motored across the yard barely inches off the ground till he found some bushes to land in.

That night I kept thinking about those babies out in the big, sometimes bad world. I wished them safety, safe travel and blessed happy life. Tonight I'm sending out a wish for the same to the people who are suffering tonight: folks along the Gulf Coast, the folks flooded out in India, and to all who need one extra prayer tonight. Godspeed through the night, and the nights to come, for all of you, for all of us.